Court reaffirms that prevailing party cannot recover attorney fees without stautory authority if claim was not frivolous
Bob Turner, Inc., sued Walter and Linda Frisbee and lost. The District Court awarded the Frisbees their related "costs" as the prevailing party and included in the award the attorneys fees that they incurred. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that since the District Court expressly ruled that the claim was not frivolous, the defendants could not include their attorney fees in the $10,000.00 of costs recovered. The Circuit Court affirmed the lower court, but did not cite any statutory authority for an award of fees. Under the so-called "American Rule" the Court of Appeals over-turned the lower courts and allowed the defendants to recover only their out-of-pocket expenses or "costs"--not including fees.